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The Catholic Women’s League of Canada BC & Yukon Provincial Council National theme: One Heart, One Voice, One Mission Provincial theme: Joyfully Serving the Lord

Legislation Communique #2 – Blanca Stead – Oct. 31, 2016

Dear League sisters and Father Edwin,

Following the approval of Bill C-14, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) stated that: “our voices must continue to resound not only with a clear defense of the dignity of all human life from beginning to natural end but also an insistent demand for effective conscience protection across Canada.  Advocacy must also continue for new and major investments in palliative care – the only truly human answer to end of life challenges”

This call for action has become urgent after learning that the Fraser Health Board is considering a decision to mandate that all palliative care units and hospices facilities in Fraser Health Authority be required to provide assisted suicide and euthanasia, also called Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD), within their units or facilities.

In addition, a doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox, has recently resigned from the ethics committee at this Catholic hospital because it refuses to offer assisted dying on-site. He also called for doctors to go public with their opposition to publicly funded hospitals refusing to offer assisted dying.

We need to let our members know the importance of signing petitions, writing letters, and visiting the local MLAs to inform them of our position.

Two examples of how the practice of euthanasia progresses:

- In 2001, the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for patients who were suffering unbearable pain and had no prospects of a cure. Recently a proposal was presented to legalize assisted dying for older people who are generally healthy but feel they have led a full life.  The Health Minister read a letter to the Dutch Parliament stating that the measure was needed to address the needs of “older people who do not have the possibility to continue life in a meaningful way, who are struggling with the loss of independence and reduced mobility, and who have a sense of loneliness, partly because of the loss of loved ones, and who are burdened by general fatigue, deterioration and loss of personal dignity”.  The Dutch government is hoping to draft the law by the end of 2017.

-  In 2002, the Belgian parliament legalized euthanasia for patients suffering “unbearably” from any “untreatable” medical condition, terminal or non-terminal, including people with mental illnesses. Hospital records show that over the last two years, people with schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder and dementia have been euthanized.

Immediate Action: The B.C. & Yukon Provincial executive of the CWL has decided to send a petition to the B.C. Legislature concerning hospice and palliative care.  The text of the petition will also be sent to the Whitehorse Diocesan President to adopt or adapt according to Yukon Legislature standing orders.

Other News:

In the House of Commons:  Private member’s bill C-225 (Cathay Wagantall) “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing death of a preborn child while committing an offence), was defeated at the 2nd Reading.  Yeas 76 – Nays 209

B.C.:  “Silver Alert System

The organization <betterthan50.com> is calling on the provincial government to reconsider the establishment of a professional “Silver Alert” system in B.C. “With Alzheimer’s and dementia rates increasing in B.C., the government needs to get ahead of the curve to keep our at risk seniors safe”.

BC & Yukon Provincial Standing Committee of Legislation:

A big thank you to Sherray Duran from the Diocese of Vancouver and Jeanne Wilson from the Diocese of Whitehorse, for accepting to share the workload as members of the Sub-Committee of Legislation.

Blessings to you all,

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